Google announces research center in Nairobi
Tech giant Google announced the opening of its first product development center in Africa last week. In Kenya’s capital Nairobi, transformative products for the African and global market will be developed in the future. This is Google’s second major investment in research and development on the African continent, after the US company opened a center for Artificial Intelligence (AI) research in Accra, Ghana, in 2019. Only in October last year, Google had announced that it would support digital transformation in Africa with investments of one billion US dollars. The aim is to build a reliable internet infrastructure on the continent and thus provide as many Africans as possible with affordable and fast access to the internet; at the same time, new products adapted to the needs of the African market are to be developed and small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profit organizations are to be supported. To this end, more than 100 new employees will be hired over the next two years in the areas of software engineering, design and research to develop African-led solutions to African and global problems w, announced Nitin Gajria, managing director of Google in Africa. The African market is considered as an attractive investment target in the industry: with currently around 300 million internet users and an expected increase to around 800 million by 2030 alone, Africa has the potential to become one of the leading digital economies in the coming years. With the opening of the product development center in Nairobi, Google not only underlines Nairobi’s position as a regional tech hub in East Africa, but also joins the growing list of tech giants opening innovation centers in Kenya. For example, the US company Microsoft had also invested around 100 million US dollars in technology development centers in Kenya and Nigeria in recent years and hired hundreds of engineers in both countries. Two weeks ago, t he US company VISA had also announced that it would open its first innovation centers in Nairobi to develop payment and transaction solutions together with partners.
Italy concludes gas contracts with Angola and the Republic of Congo
Last week, an Italian delegation led by Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio and Minister for Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolani, travelled to Angola and the Republic of Congo to negotiate new agreements on increasing gas supplies. The politicians were accompanied by the CEO of the Italian energy company ENI, Claudio Descalzi. Starting next year, Italy plans to receive an additional 1.5 billion cubic metres of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Angola and up to 4.5 billion cubic metres from the Republic of Congo. As part of its diversification strategy, Italy is currently concluding additional agreements with Egypt, Azerbaijan, Libya and Qatar. A trip to Mozambique is also planned for May. With this, Italy is taking another important step towards freeing itself from gas dependence on Russia: So far, Italy obtains 29 billion cubic metres, about 45% of its annual demand of 76 billion cubic metres, from Russian gas supplies. In the week before Easter, the Italian energy supplier ENI has already signed an agreement with the Algerian energy company Sonatrach. Algeria is Italy’s second largest gas supplier with 30% and 21 billion cubic metres so far. The new deal is expected to increase the supply volume by another nine billion cubic metres per year.
In other news
Great Vision Business is the first private waste disposal company in the Congolese metropolis of Goma. There is no public waste collection in the city. The company’s founder Joël Tembo started his project six years ago with a starting capital of 20,000 US dollars. With this money he bought a discarded rubbish truck, hired 10 employees and began to tackle the local rubbish problem. In the meantime, the trained business economist earns around 6,000 US dollars a year thanks to 300 paying customers. Even if he cannot completely eliminate the piles of rubbish, the entrepreneur, together with the 30 other local waste management companies, can at least make a contribution to reducing them.
The German Africa Foundation congratulates Peres Jechichir and Evans Chebet from Kenya on their victories at the Boston Marathon. Congratulations also go to the second and third place winners in the men’s race, Lawrence Cherono and Benson Kiprutound and in the women’s race, Ababel Yeshaneh from Ethiopia and Mary Wacera Ngugi from Kenya.